Colts, Dolphins rise in opener

Aug 2, 2005 2:30 AM

The NFL preseason finally starts this Saturday with the American Bowl in Tokyo and continues next Monday at the Hall Of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

We will cover all the NFL games this year and also selected college games each week so let’s get started.

NFL PRESEASON

Saturday, 2 p.m. PT

Falcons +2½ vs. Colts (41½): Both teams can score and possess defenses that needed a lot of help last year. Last year was the Falcons first year under HC Jim Mora, going 2-2 both SU and ATS. They were 0-2 as a dog, 2-0 when laying the number. I don’t think you will see Vick in for more than a few snaps. Falcons do have a very good backup QB in Matt Schaub, who will see plenty of action. Atlanta will have to play much better "D" to reach the Super Bowl, but has a lot to prove in the first game.

Indy has possibly the best offense in pro football. The Colts proved it again last year that you can’t win the Super Bowl unless you play defense. This year we will see Manning & Co. continue lighting up the scoreboard.

They will have to, as the defense will be practically the same. That’s because the offensive players get all the big bucks, limiting the Colts ability to go out and sign a high priced free agent to help the lacking "D". Dungy teams play hard in the preseason, going 5-1 ATS on the road in his three years at Indy. COLTS, OVER.

Monday, 5 p.m. PT

Bears +1½ vs. Dolphins (33½): The Bears had one of the worst offenses in the league last year, but do have a young team that played hard to the end under their first year HC Lovie Smith. The players do love Lovie. Bears will focus more on the run this year to take some pressure off QB Rex Grossman in hopes of keeping him and his week knees healthy. Look for a very conservative game plan on offense this year and plenty of smash mouth defense.

The Dolphins sprung for the "big bucks" in hiring Nick Saban, who led LSU to the BCS title two years ago. Nick was happy at LSU, but could not resist the ungodly amount of money Miami offered him. Now he has to somehow turn the Fish around. One thing is for sure, being a success in the college ranks doesn’t mean you will succeed in the NFL. I can name dozens that have failed. Nick is a great HC and a good guy. I think the Dolphins will come out gunning for the win. Saban is definitely a go-getter and he will want to instill team pride. Look for a big effort by the defense and preseason victory No. 1 for Nick. DOLPHINS, UNDER.

Well, the dog days of summer are here and some baseball teams that are out of their races are looking for ways to get some fans in the stands. Last week, the Colorado Rockies took this literally and had dog days of summer night. You could actually bring you pooch to the game.

I think it was a great idea and, from what I read, both fans and dogs had a great time with almost no incidents. There were more arguments on the field than in the stands.

You know my dog loves playing baseball and I would really like taking Petey to a game.